I was like a fat kid heading to Maccas – (I kid you not. Just ask the boys around here) - when I heard a new Operation Flashpoint was being released by fellas that had the same vision from the first. I think I was one of the few that saw the potential in the original game with free roam squad stealthy epicness. I spent HOURS sneaking around like a snake in the grass setting C4 ambushes for unsuspecting enemy convoys. Watching them explode at the click of a button and then raining rockets and bucket loads of rounds into the survivors. Stealing choppers and wreaking havoc on enemy villages. Bouncing around in tanks and various other vehicles looking for bad guys to kill, then when you’re bored with that you could jump back in to the single player and your ‘controllers’ would come up with some direction and a mission you could just spend the whole day on perfecting, just so.
All this fun from a game where the visuals looked like they were designed by four dudes in a computer science course at Uni, where the beauty is in the function, not the cosmetics.
“YES”, I yelled – (SRSLY) – when I saw the first trailer on YouTube with the new graphics, the weapons, the uniforms, the absolute epic size of the game realm where they said it’ll take you NINE HOURS to walk the length of the map, REAL time. You could jump in a chopper and it would STILL take you fifteen odd minutes to fly the length. AWE-SOME.
THE MOST accurate mil-sim to date for the gaming industry was another claim and I’m thinking, “You FKN BEE-U-TEE!.
One thing marketers need to understand is that if they state something the products BETTER follow up with the goods; ESPECIALLY in the gaming industry.
Gamers can go from love to hate in a blink of an eye and with the viral nature of online communications these days it’ll take less than a week for your product to be trashed, globally. Marketers NEED gamers to sell their game. Other gamers look to the websites like this and YouTube for information on your game and measure it against what your marketing crew have said.
If there are discrepancies in the information that can be justified then your game will survive. Like, for instance, “the most accurate mil-sim to date” claim.
Depending on who you talk to, mil-sim means different things. For your younger ‘run and gun attention span of a gold fish’ group you’re looking at something like Battlefield: Bad Company with the tanks, choppers, airstrikes, and weapons. But if you’re looking at your ‘mil-sim geeks’ like me, then we’re looking for GREAT Artificial Intelligence, squad commands that’ll take days to perfect, manoeuvres and counter manoeuvres from both the enemy and your team. We want to be equally challenged and have the ability unload devastation on an enemy as we beat them in a game of chess on the battlefield.
Does Operation Flashpoint measure up to this?. Well, yes, in some ways, but in others it fails miserably. The only way you can ‘free roam’ – (Xbox and PS3) - with your team is via a GLITCH in the programming. Go to Codemasters forum and you’ll see what I mean. They STICKIED a GLITCH someone accidentally discovered as a way of free roaming the entire map. Seriously, that blows my mind. It’s like the developer and the marketing department met up at lunch over scones, got some details, then made the rest up. The game itself takes up like 20% of the map and the rest is only accessible by going AWOL during another mission in single player while the game waits for you to complete an objective?. Nuts mate. Seriously, they need to fix that NOW. ‘Free roam’ is the absolute nuts and bolts of the sales pitch of this game and it doesn’t exist, yet.
This game is less than a month out from needing a DIE HARD fan base before its spotlight gets dwarfed by the Modern Warfare 2 Death Star and they’ve just lost two weeks, in my opinion.
I probably made it sound like the game is crap. It isn’t, it still is great. I’ve had days of fun trying to perfect my attacks with my sometimes suicidal squad of special needs ... umm ... I mean ... special forces team that likes to take the time to heal each other; standing tall and proud in front of an enemy machine gun nest or refusing to take cover behind something that might save their lives and mine.
The individual squad member orders really bump the gaming experience up a notch because you can position your guys to cover – (or leave them out entirely) - the approach to an enemy position so you can do the job yourself.
To get the most out of this game you NEED to take advantage of Codemasters wisdom in including campaign co-op. You and three of your mates – (or random people from the multiplayer servers) - can run through the single player campaign as a team. It’s up to you and your abilities as to whether that’s special needs forces, or a team of PWNING AWESOMENESS.
This, however, is best done on the Xbox because I was reading about a bloke who was wanting to do the single player co-op with his missus but because of the lack of party play he had to set up the game and wait for his woman to find his server. Thing was, all the other people wanted to join his server and he had to boot them so she could join. He had to boot so many his PSN account got locked for seven days. Now him AND his missus can’t play it for a week. Funny, yes, but C’MON.
It’s a hard game, and you need to take the time to get used to all the commands to get the most out of it. It truly is a ‘real time strategy’ game that’s played in the first person. One bullet will drop you and end your mission in the blink of an eye. The bullets bouncing around you creates a REAL sense of urgency as you run for cover hoping and praying that the one with your name on it doesn’t put a hole in something vital. You need to staunch the flow of blood to survive and you need to consider the same with your team mates. If you haven’t pre-planned your attack the AI of the enemy can be impressive as they continually try to flank you while your brain can’t compute fast enough to figure out a solution. The ‘select fire’ on your gun gets flicked from semi-auto to full-auto as you close on the enemy position for quick and concise kills. A well placed grenade can win an attack with a single impressive ‘CRACK’.
Enemy gunships will just straight out destroy you with their cannons if you’re spotted. Try and take on an enemy .50cal and you’ll be left waiting for the ‘load last checkpoint’ option as you stare at a red stain on the grass that was you as you hear your team fall to the same fate.
The potential for a truly great game is so just out of reach it’s frustrating. I’ll keep this game and spend months going back trying to perfect the execution of the missions and if they HURRY UP and give us free roam I’ll sing it’s praises on this very page. But until then, hire it, and give it a nudge. You will find something to love about it if you give it a chance.
P.S. Host multiplayer matches to get the most out of them.
 I got a request for a rating. It's a hard one to rate because it's so multifaceted and it'll be different for everyone. I actually just replayed the first level and found a Barrett .50cal Sniper Rifle (ruins above second SAM site) which changed everything.
As it is I'll rate it out of 5 for the Tactical FPS genre:
It's fun, and the graphics are good. It DEFINITELY needs some changes to reach that full potential and I'd make it a 4 star.